Throwing Bullets on the Fire

When we first moved to the place I would come to call home, a boy, five years my senior, knocked on the door to meet his new playmate.  He introduced himself, spelled his last name, and every weekend and summer we played: Sometimes in the woods pretending we were soldiers…

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Having Been Asked Whether To Get A Dog

A good friend of mine recently asked whether he should get a dog. Relatives and well-wishers were all offering advice, the good and the bad that we have all heard before. They would talk about unconditional love. Regardless of how your day went, whether your wife was mad at you,…

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Visigoths, Happiness and Middle Age

Something curious happens when we track satisfaction over the course of our lives.  Couples meet, fall in love, get married and life could not be more wonderful.  Then they have children and satisfaction falls.  It plummets. Happiness only begins its rise once again after the little ones are hatched and…

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Hope Chess

I am intrigued by chess.  I don’t understand it.  My rank, if I had one, would fall somewhere between hack and tender beginner.  I am regularly beaten by third graders who only play after school with milk and cookies as they wait for their mothers to pick them up.  Yet…

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Naked Truths

In many ways this is the greatest period of history. Yet ours is a culture of longing. The world is of course the world, and it is filled with tragedy, hardship, pain, loss and indiscretion.  Yet life expectancy and literacy rates have been steadily rising for decades.  We are richer…

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Whatever Happened to Conner MacBride?

Peer Pressure, Friendship, Manliness

Thoughts of peer pressure bring a parent’s worst fears to mind: sex; drugs; uncategorized acts of stupidity; the fact that our kids cannot be who they are when they are the most themselves. When they get home at night, there is no escape from the peacocking of peers on Instagram…

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Sisyphus and the Path to Meaning

Sisyphus-Meaning in Life

In The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus retells the ancient Greek tale of the king Sisyphus who was condemned to forever push a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again.  Despite an eternity of “futile labor”, in the end Camus concludes “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” …

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Dreams Undusted

At what point do you wake up and accept that your life has become a compromise?  Over the course of days and years and decades all the choices you have made or half-made in a fog assemble themselves in a generally orderly fashion and we call them our “life”.  We…

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Strengths Of Our Children

Parenting and Strengths

Everything I have learned in life that has mattered, I learned from my children.  They are the “sacred Yes” about whom Nietzsche spoke. In positive psychology we study strengths.  This is good and valuable and has taught us so much about people at their best, and about life’s luminous moments. …

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